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2 Indep. Company - Kariba - 3 Platoon

April 1976 - January 1977

After we completed basic training we were assigned to our operational companies. My platoon was assigned to 2 Indep. based in Kariba although, except for the first five weeks or so, we spent the whole of my operational time in the Northeast, Operation Hurricane area. Following is a list of the guys in my platoon with some photos and things I remember about them. I struggle when it comes to rote memorization but have a very good mind for detail. Nevertheless, as I get older, memories do fade so I want to preserves some of my experiences and memories and that is one of the reasons why I created this site.

2 Indep Emblem

Below is a clipping I took from the Citizen Newspaper in 1977 when I read, with sadness, that some of the guys in my platoon who were left behind when I went to university, had been killed in the operational area.

Citizen Clipping

In the left column of photos below, called "Back Then" are colored photos I made by cropped them out of a scan I made of my platoon photo. I made the other black and white photos in that column by cropping them from old black and white photographs I took with my grandmother's instamatic camera that she loaned to me. We were not allowed to have cameras but I decided that, in addition to the drawings I did, I wanted some photos too. So, I borrowed her camera and took it with me on my last stint in the Northeast in January 1977 just before I was released to go to university. I wanted to record some of what I saw and did. I still have these old photos and the negatives. Eventually, I will rescan them and see if I can improve the quality. I scanned them years ago when I didn't have a very good scanner. Again however, they are from old instamatic photos which are not that good to begin with.

As the guys have found my site over the years and contacted me, if they sent me an updated photo or posted one on their Facebook page, etc. I have added that to the right column of photos, i.e. in the "Today" column.

Page last updated on 2015-07-01

Guys, possibly still alive, who were together at Llewellyn
Killed in action
Deceased - Post military service
Guys in our platoon when we went operational
DRR Stable Belt
Back Then Today Comments
Anderson Anderson, Norman
Nickname:
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Appleton, Vaughn
Appleton Vaughn
Deceased
  Appleton, Vaughn
Nickname:
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Deceased
2008-05-13:
I just received an email form Bobby Knott who told me that Vaughn was killed in a motorbike accident in the mid 90's. Vaughn didn't know this at the time but, when we were doing our military service, his mom worked for my uncle in Bulawayo.

Benkenstein H
Benkenstein H
Benkenstein Benkenstein, Howard
Nickname: Howie, Benks
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry, carried the MAG
Status/Location: Alive - South Africa - He is on Facebook

I saw him last in Johannesburg in about 1979

Howard became a really good friend and we went on many patrols together. he had a BSc in Botany and Zoology. He was a really tough, decent guy and I enjoyed being on patrol with him. Howard usually just took sudza and biltong with him for food on patrol. He would cook the sudza in his metal mug and eat it with his biltong, then make tea in the mug, scraping the remaining sudza, clinging to the sides, off into the tea, producing a rather chunky cup of tea!! He believed that the shortest distance between two points was a straight line, boring through the densest bush or steepest terrain, to get to the destination. He was a tall and slim but strong and a great guy on patrol, taking the job very seriously. I enjoyed patrolling with him.

I was right behind him once when he walked into a vag 'n bietjie thorn bush that hooked all over the place ino his upper arm. Well, Howard didn't fiddle around trying to unhook each thorn - he just yanked his arm out of the bush and carried right on. I still remember seeing the tanned skin on his upper arm all hooked on the thorns and being pulled away from his arm, held by all of these little hooks, as he tore his arm from the bush.

In the NE border area we were bothered by thousands of Mopani flies while we sweated when patrolling. Often, when we took a break, Howard would prop himself up on his elbow exposing his sweaty armpit, a nice, moist treat, for the flies. Well, they would fly in and around there by the hundreds and,just when they thought they were having a great time, Howard would attack his armpit with his other hand, trapping hundreds of flies in there and squashing them. Those were the days...

He was badly injured in a landmine explosion in the Mana Pools area after my release. He was on a truck that hit a boosted landmine. He told me he remembered being on the truck, heard a bang and, next thing, woke up under a tree on his back. He wondered what had happened and his had automatically went doen to his leg where it disappeared into a huge bleeding hole. The truck had been flown into the air and flipped onto its side, ending up facing in the opposite direction to which they were driving. Howard had been thrown into the air and came down through a tree. As he came down through the tree, a large branch penetrated his thigh, hit the bone, which deflected it sideways, tearing a large chunk out of his leg in the process. The last time I saw him was in Johannesburg in the late 70's or so when he visted me there. He showed me the massive scars on his legs and was still undergoing therapy to strengthen his leg and improve use of it.

Someone saw him in the Johannesburg area in about 2001-05-18

2013-01-03: I keep hoping that one day Howard will find this site and contact me. I would like to know how he is and what he is doing...

2013-01-09: Well, I might have just found him on Facebook. I messaged someone who looks awfully like it may be him, albeit 30 years later, hopefully he will reply.

2012-01-10: What a wonderful surprise awaited me this morning when I woke up, a reply and it was Howard.
Bishop Bishop, Christopher
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown

Guy Shepard told me that Chris went to university after his service then resturned to his family farm near Karoi but does not know what happened to him after 2001.
Borland Borland
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Brownlee
Brwonlee
Brownlee, Charlie
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location:
Last known to have a company in Botswana (2001-05-18). On 2008-07-07 I received an email from one of the 7 Platoon guys, Neil Freestone, and he told me Charlie and his family are still in Gabarone and that he sees Charlie every now and then. (Neil lives in Pietermaritzburg).
Burton
Burton
Burton, John
Nickname: Jobie
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location:
Last known (as of 2001-05-18) to be running a tourist lodge in the Matopos.
Clarke Clarke, Alastair
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Collins Collins
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Cowie Cowie
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Cramer
Deceased
Cramer, John
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: ?
Status/Location: Deceased

John was a decent, friendly guy. On our first operational stint south of Bumi Hills a couple of the guys and John were cutting down a small tree with their pangas. Somehow, during the cutting, as one of them swung his panga, he accidently hit John's hand and cut his fingers pretty badly. John was taken out for medical attention and we never saw him again. I don't know where he ended up.

Barry Doyle contacted me and told me that John, sadly, died of a brain tumor in 1981. Barry served as a pallbearer at John's funeral. I don't know where this occured or if John had any family. I still hear his voice in my head and can still see him standing talking to me with a blood-soaked rag wrapped around his injured hand while we waited for him to be casavacked.
Croukamp Croukamp, Doug
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: Selous Scouts (?)
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown

I vaguely remember that he left to try-out for the Selous Scouts. Whether or not he made it, I don't know.
Daniels Daniels
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Dodds D Dodds D
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown

The two Dodds were brothers and, if I remember correctly, twins as well. It is funny but I remember thinking that they looked like two little boys as they looked so young. I couldn't really speak myself as I only shaved about once a week and weighed all of about 127 lbs...
Dodds G Dodds G
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Doyle Doyle, Barry
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: Pookie Driver
Status/Location: Uncertain

Barry found this site and contacted me on 2004-07-27. He informed me of John Cramer's death. Barry was a pallbearer at John's funeral.
Durling Durling
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Elkington Elkington
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown

I got on well with him during our training but can't remember his first name - may have been Pete, but not sure. He had rectangular glasses that darkened in the sun. After basic training he left the infantry and I never saw him again. I remember running together with him on our long PE runs and that he had quite a sense of humour.
Farmer Farmer
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Fisher Fisher Fisher, Gary
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Alive as of 2004 & living in San Francisco. - He is on Facebook.

Gary was injured when we hit a landmine in the Northeast. He was sitting at the back left side of the truck, two spaces to my left. After the blast he jumped off the truck and collapsed in pain in the road. I fired a few shots into the hill on the side of the road where the terrs who laid the mine might have been hiding then jumped down to help Gary who, by then, was semi crouched and groaning in pain. As I got to him he fell over backwards onto me and I grabbed him, supporting him as he came down. I was a bit worried for two reasons. 1) I thought his back may have been broken and did not want to move in case I injured him further and 2), I was now exposed on the road with him, an easy target, should the terrs attack. I sat with him half propped up lying against me in the road for over an hour waiting for the helicopter to arrive. I remember looking up at our truck and saw Beb Othitis' body hanging half off the back. His legs were twitching and I remember thinking that his neck must have been broken and that perhaps he was dead. John Morgan jumped up onto the back of the truck to help Beb. Fortunately Beb was alive, had a broken neck, but survived. I never saw him again after he was flown out by helicopter that afternoon and have wondered for years if he was OK.

Once the injured guys had been evacuated I paced off the distance between the crater in the road where we detonated the mine to the point where our truck hit the road again and then skidded to the side. We had flown through the air about 25 yards. I picked up a piece of our shattered, front right wheel brake drum and kept it. I still have it and will take a photo of it an post it.

Gary contacted me and is alive and well in CA. Photo added 2004/03/24
Foster Foster
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Francis Francis, Sean (?)
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Alive, in Florida as of 2003-10-27

He found this site & contacted me on 2003-10-27. He moved to PE in 1979 & is now in Florida.
Glanakis
Galanakis
Galanakis 2006
Galanakis
Galanakis, Emmanuel
Nickname: Gali
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Alive, in Florida as of 2003-10-27 - He is on Facebook.

I went on patrol a couple of times with Gali. He was also injured in the landmine blast I recounted above under Fisher. He was sitting on the right side of the truck up towards the front end. Gali found this site & contacted me on 2003-10-27. He moved to PE in 1979 & is now in Florida.

Since the onset of Facebook, Gali is on there too and made contact with me again via it. Looking good there Gali.

Grant
Grant

Grant
Grant, Kevin
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 1 Indep (Wankie)
Category: Medic
Status/Location: Alive, in Canberra Australia

He found this site & contacted me on 2003-01-02.
Gwyther Gwyther
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Haddow Haddow,  Peter
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Alive

I really liked Pete Haddow. He was a decent guy and became a good friend during basic training. I think he went to signals when I stayed in the infantry and I never saw him again. I have often wondered what happened to him and if he is still alive today.

On 2008-06-05, out of the blue, I received an email from Peter! He has a sister in Australia and she found this site and sent it on to him. He studied at UCT then at the University of Georgia. He is now a tennis professional living in Sacramento, California.
Hall Hall
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Hatley Hatley, Malcolm
Nickname: Hatters
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry (carried bren gun)
Status/Location: Alive, Vancouver Island, Canada

Malcolm became a good friend and we went on many patrols together with the following two guys, Tom Whitney, (stick commander) and Bin Jenkins. Malcolm carried the bren gun. It was the four of us who walked into elephant and were charged by a rhino along the Mwenda River at Lake Kariba. I think Malcolm's parents were farmers. Malcolm found this site and contacted me on 2003-12-15. He left Zimbabwe in +/- 2000
Hill
Norman Hill
Hill, Norman
Nickname: Gomo
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry (carried heavy barrel FN)
Status/Location: Alive, Vancouver Island, Canada

Malcolm Hatley told me in his email of 2003-12-15 that Norman has a family and were living in Pretoria.

I went on many patrols with Norman. (His parents were also farmers). In my photo, here at left, Norman is eating corn flakes out of his metal water bottle mug. He used to carry as little food as possible and, once went we were out on patrol, the weather suddenly got cold. It was one of the times that we were doing an OP from one of the large conical hills in the area we patrolled south of Pachanza. Norman got very hungry because of the cold weather so the other three of us shared our food with him.

Norman found this site and contacted me on 2006-01-27. After our service he did numerous call-ups. Once, while on a university vacation and on the farm with his family, he, his father and 14 year-old brother were ambushed by a large group of terrs. Tragically his father was killed in the attack but he and his brother fought them off and managed to escape. Ultimately they lost their family farm and were paid almost nothing for it by the Zimbabwe government. Norman studied engineering and settled in SA. It was absolutely heart-wrenching for me as I read the email from Norman recounting the ambush and death of his father with him and his young brother and what they endured.
Hoffman Hoffman
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Howard Howard
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Hulley Hulley, Mike (?)
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Mike had strong religious beliefs and wasn't shy in expressing them. As a result, our platoon commander and some of the guys gave him a bit of a hard time. I admired however the way he stood up for what he believed. I also had strong religious beliefs and would not curse and swear, get drunk, etc. and somehow, thankfully, except for on one occasion, our platoon commander left me alone regarding them.
Ireland-Jones Ireland-Jones
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: May be deceased, not sure, see below

I received an email on 2006-11-02 from someone in Australia who told me they thought his was Jeremy Ireland-Jones who studied veterinary Science in Australia then went to England where he developed a brain tumour & died in about 1983.

On 2006-09-07 I received an email from Phil Evans and he thinks this may be a Chris Ireland Jones he came across in England. So, I'm not sure exactly who is correct as I can't remember his first name.
Jenkins
Jenkins
Jenkins, Bin (?)
Nickname: Bop
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 7 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Unknown

Someone emailed me on 2001-05-18 and told me Bin was in Australia. I went on many patrols with Bin. He was also a good, reliable guy. He was with us when we were charged by a rhino on a mountain above the Mwenda River. (See my Kariba page when I post it for more). At the time he had a fragmentation, time-delayed, rifle grenade on his rifle and he removed it the quickest I ever saw someone do that. Fortunately we did not have to shoot the rhino but it was a very frightening experience.
Keegans Keegans, William
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Alive as of 2001 in Abu Dhabi

William found this site and contacted me on 2001-05-18. We were at high school together - I think in Que Que.
King
King
King, Tony
Nickname: Porky - A nice name for a Jewish boy! :-)
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep. - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Unverified

Someone emailed me and told me Tony was in the USA.

As far as I remember Tony's father owned a hotel in Bulawayo, the Selbourne (?) and also had something to do with Supersonic. After basic training we were finally allowed to have a radio/record player in our barrack room and Tony was able to get a good deal for us through his dad on a Supersonic "music center" as they were called. We all clubbed together and bought it. I remember two of the few records we bought, Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts & Cold Fact by Rodriguez. Some of the Summer Breeze tracks were OK but I did not like much on Cold Fact. Well, we played these LP's to death when we were off duty and I got really sick of hearing them over and over. I think of my service every time I hear Summer Breeze...

When we first arrived at our operational base in Kariba at 2 Indep, we had a first aid refresher course before starting active partols. The medic called for a volunteer to have a drip stuck in him for a demo of how to insert a cannula. I remember Tony calling out to the medic and pointing at me saying "...Use Skraal, use Skraal..." (because I was very thin and the veins in my arms were easily found). But, poetic justice struck and the medic said "No, you come up here..." And,Porky got stuck like a you-know-what. And I finally decided that yes, there was cosmic justice in the world. :-)
Kirby Kirby
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Kruger Kruger, Leon
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown

Leon was a fanatical snake catcher and he had the bed on my left in our barrack room. One night I went to sleep with a cardboard box full of young puffadders on his locker next to my head. On our classical warfare exercise he caught an 8 ft banded cobra that fell into the trench next to mine.
McKenzie
Killed in Action
McKenzie McKenzie, Hayden
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: ?
Status/Location: Killed In Action

I never patrolled with Hayden and remember him as a fairly quiet but friendly guy. Those of us going to university were given an early release at the end of January 1977. We were the first double intake of mostly guys going to varsity after national service. When this happened the size of our company was greatly reduced so it was redeployed to the Kariba area in about January '77. The guys were on a patrol up near Mana Pools where Hayden and three other guys were killed. I remember reading the report in the Citizen newspaper in Johannesburg while I was in my first year of architecture at Wits and was very saddened by it. Even today, some 30 years later, it still causes me pain to think about their deaths.

I cut the article reporting Hayden's death from the Citizen newspaper in Johannesburg on 28 June 1977 and have kept it all these years... I was at university, and a number of the guys were still up there - getting killed for what? our government had declared its intention to hand our country over to the terrorists - and I felt terrible...

Andrew (Budda) White of 8 Platoon knew Hayden and some of the other guys noted as being killed here in this article. He wrote to me about it on 2008-03-26 and also gave me news on Dave Scott's death noted below.
Meadows Taylor
Killed in Action
Meadows Taylor
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: SAS
Category: Killed in Action
Status/Location: Deceased

Shaun Dearlove wrote to me on 2007-08-12 and gave me the following sad update regarding Colin. Shaun wrote "He volunteered for SAS before the end of basic training at Llewellyn and with a number of other members of 150 intake went to Salisbury to do the course. He passed selection and was tragically killed in action in Mozambique, during a varsity vac when he had volunteered to do call up. A great guy and very good friend."
Meyerson Meyerson
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational:?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Mordt Mordt, Ed
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown

Shaun Dearlove wrote to me on 2007-08-12 and gave me the following update regarding him: "Ed Mordt also came to SAS and was farming in Zim whereabouts at this time unknown."

Guy Sheppard contacted me on 2015-02-08 and said the he last knew of Ed in 2001 being in Harare and starting his own small airline business...
Morgan
Morgan
Morgan Morgan, John
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Alive, in the UK

John found this site and emailed me on 2003-10-20 with the up-dated picture here at left. He is a science teacher in the UK.

John was a rgreat guy and became a very good freind. I went on many patrols with him and he took it seriously and did a good job. I still remember an incident he told me about where he had a map reading disagreement with his stick commander - who was as dense as two bricks and clearly could not read a map... John was correct, the stick commander was absolutely and utterly wrong - but John came off second best because he had a lower rank. When we hit the landmine, recounted above under Gary Fisher, John also risked his life and stayed on the exposed truck to help Beb Othitis who had been seriously injured while I helped Gary who was in the road.

John visited me once at my parent's' house in Johannesburg when I was at Wits and I remember him telling me, when my mom was out of the room, that he was really struggling to call me "Alan" and kept wanting to call me "Skraal" which was what I was known by in our platoon. I can still clearly hear John's voice from all those years ago in my head.

I have so many good memories of John and, unfortunately he must have changed his email address since contacting me and I have not heard anything more from him. If anyone knows where he is and how to reach him please let me know.
Nesbitt Nesbitt, Barry
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: ?
Status/Location: Alive, Camps Bay, South Africa

Barry found this site and emailed me on 2004-04-03. He went to varsity then into business. He retired as CEO of a company then, a few years later, started up his own consulting firm. He lives in Camps Bay and has two daughters.

2005-08-14 Had an email from Barry. He had just found my updated site.
Nixon Nixon
Nickname: Budgie
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Othitis
Othitis
Othitis Othitis, Mike
Nickname: Beb
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Alive: Colorado Springs, Colorado.

I patrolled a few times with Beb. He was injured when we hit the landmine recounted above under "Fisher" and "Galanakis." Beb was sitting with his back to mine when it happened. Immediately after the blast, I thought Beb had been killed. It turned out that he had been badly injured but survived. He and the other two injured guys were flown out by helicopter & I never saw any of them again and, until finally making contact with all three who were injured so many years later, I wondered for years what happened to them.

2009-02-21 Beb (Mike) found this site & emailed me. He is a geologist and owns a geological company based in Colorado, Medusa Geo-Consulting.
Parrington
Deceased
Parrington, Marty
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Driver
Status/Location: Deceased 2003

I vaguely remember that he was a big-deal water polo player and might have been on the Rhodesian water polo team or something like that. On 2003-10-17 I had an e-mail from Willem Swanepoel telling me that Martin had died. Gavin Van Vuuren also wrote and said "...Marty used to get into Salisbury on R&R, jump into a swimming pool after sometimes months of no training, and win a race..."
Paton
Paton
Paton
Nickname: General
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown

I don't remember if he came operational with us, I don't think so. I also don't remember his first name. He had a wide ragged-looking moustache and I sketched him here at left in my notebook. On our classical war exercise Fred & I ended up assigned to the same trench location. I remember that we worked the whole night taking turns digging the massive trench we had to have ready by sunrise. As far as I remember we called him 'general" since he had the last name of "Paton."

2003-12-15: Malcolm Hatley emailed me to say that he heard that Fred was somewhere in Australia.
Patterson Patterson
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Pautz Pautz, Karl (?)
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown

I remember that he spoke with quite a strong German accent.
Pelser Pelser
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown

Apparently tried out for SAS, but don't know if he was successful.
Pretorius
Pretorius
Pretorius, Aidan
Nickname: Budgie
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Alive & in Pietermaritzburg, SA as of 2015-01

Aidan was a great guy and I got on really well with him. I went on many patrols with him, Justin Whitcroft and Chris Robertson. Aidan really took our job seriously and the four of us I mentioned here got on well together. He liked cars and I did a few drawings of cars for him. I've wondered since 1977 what happened to him and would like to make contact again.

I discovered Aidan when I searched for his name on Linked-In and he owns an electrical company in Pietermaritsburg SA and was able to make contact with him. What a wonderful surprise after all these years.
Roberts
Roberts
Roberts Roberts, Alan
Nickname: Skraal
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry (Ambush Claymore mine setter-upper)
Status/Location: Alive: Tyler Texas, USA - I am on Facebook.

I am the author of this site and have been doing this to record some history and document what we did. I think about these guys often and wonder where they all are. The war we were in seems like such an absolute waste now. Young guys and friends of mine killed for what? A good country with a bright future that was attacked and ganged-up on by the world and handed over to the terrorists who then proceeded to destroy it - just like every other black-ruled state in Africa. Every single one of these countries is an absolute disaster and there is not one success story. 25 years later the black Zimbabwe government sits there in the Rhodesian Ruins still blaming the whites for its woes. Insane to the nth degree...
Robertson
Robertson
Robertson
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantey (Carried Bren Gun)
Status/Location: Unknown

I went on many patrols with Chris. His father was a surgeon and he operated on my grandmother when she broke her hip. Chris used to take a big non-standard backpack on patrol stuffed with a lot of fancy non-military issue food.
Ryan Ryan
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Sayer Sayer, Gary
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: Engineers, Pookie-Driver
Status/Location: Alive - South Africa

Gary's brother ,Bruce, found my site and emailed me on 2007-01-13 and told me Gary was well and living in South Aftrica.
Scott D
Scott
Deceased
Scott, Doug
Nickname: Scottie
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Inderp - 3 Platoon?
Category: Driver
Status/Location: Deceased

Apparently killed in a car accident over 25 years ago.
Sheppard G Sheppard, Guy
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Alive, Hobart, Tasmania as of 2015 & may move to Perth

He was seriously injured in a landmine blast early on during our time in the Northeast border area and was casevac'd out to hospital. He was the first guy in our platoon to be injured and we heard his back had been broken in the blast. He was a really decent guy and I don't remember what finally happened to him. His brother was also in our platoon. See below.

2015-02-08
Well, out of the blue, I received an email from Guy! His wife found this site by accident and told him and he contacted me. What a wonderful surprise. He is married with three adulty daughters. After his service Guy studied telecommunications and agriculture then he and his family ran the family farm in Karoi North until 2001 when they were evicted by Mugabe's "war veterans."
Sheppard J
Sheppard, Jeremy
Nickname: Jem
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Inderp - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Alive, Perth Australia as of 2015-02

I'm not sure why but he and I did not get on well at all during basic training but, strangely enough, we became good friends once we went operational together. Once, whilst operational south of Lake Kariba, our platoon commander, Mark Jackson, who did little more than use us as his servants, yelled at Jem one morning when we were in base camp and ordered him to make him some tea. (I was with Jem when this happened). Jem heated his metal mug till it was red hot, poured sugar into it and let it burn - then added water, boiled it and made the tea. He thought that if the tea he made was really bad Jackson might not ask him to make it again and pick on someone else. He took it to Jackson, held a serious face, and gave it to him. He turned around and walked away from Jackson towards me with a grin on his face...

I was wondering what would happen. While Jem was walking towards me Jackson took a sip. He immediately spat it out, threw the rest on the ground, cursed and swore many times at Jem, and ordered him to make him some more...Plot failed. It's strange but in my mind I still remember the layout of the camp we had here in the bush in the middle of nowhere and where Jem and I slept relative to Jackson's position.

Later in our service Jem was in a chopper with his stick (4 guys) when it came under fire. One of the young soldiers, Pier Tittlestad, was hit in the groin by bullets coming through the chopper and he bled to death before they could reach the nearest base with a medic.

Guy Sheppard contacted me on 2015-02-08 and told me that Jem had moved to SWA, then SA, then Australia where he is now in Perth and very happy to be there.
Small Small
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown

I think this guy had red hair and fair shin and I remember that he got terribly burned by the sun on the back of his neck during our basic training.
Stotter Stotter
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Small
Swanepoel
Swanepoel Swanepoel, Willem
Nickname: Swannie
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Somerset West, South Africa (2013) - He is on Facebook.

I remember Swannie as a lively performer with a wild imagination. He loved the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Queen and played and sang their music often. He contacted me on 2001-05-18 and gave a lot of helpful info on some of the guys. He has a daughter who is a model in SA and she is stunningly good-looking. One of the guys sent me a link to a site featuring her and she certainly must have gotten her looks from her mother!! :-)
Tennant Tennant, Phil
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Driver
Status/Location: Unknown

Phil was about two beds away from me in basic training. I remember one evening in the barrack room he and Gavin got into an altercation. I stepped in to try to calm things down and got a bit worried that I may also get worked over too. Fortunately however reason prevailed and everything calmed down. As far as I remember - Phil was blown up at least two or three times by landmines whilst driving and this was pretty tough for him. I remember that he was a decent, friendly guy.
Towers Towers
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Tuebes Tuebes
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Van Breda Van Breda, Peter
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown, probably UK

Guy Sheppard told me that Peter went to the UK in 1980 and became a policeman.
Van Hoff Van Hoff
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Van Rensburg Van Rensburg
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Van Vuuren Van Vuuren Van Vuuren
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Brisbane, Australia - He is on Facebook

Gavin and I were at high school together in Bulawayo at Hamilton. He was a strong, tough guy and really liked the group Queen, (me too and still do). I remember that he got angry one day with someone in our platoon (I can't remember whom) who said Freddie was a queer. I guess time has proven the someone was right. Oh well... Their music was great and still is and I suppose Gavin still likes it as do I.

We got on well during our training and service. Gavin got me to try my first scotch on an Air Rhodesia treetop-level flight from Salisbury to Bulawayo when we were sitting together going home on a pass. Air Rhodesia flew at very low level to avoid being shot down by SAM missiles. I remember that I read the time off the Que Que City Hall clock as we flew over. I loved flying that low in an airliner - it was great.

2008-04-16 Gavin found this site via us finding each other on the Hamilton High School Group on Facebook a few weeks ago. He wrote and gave me more information about some of the guys here I could not remember. He writes: "I transferred from the army (after a year of my national service) into the air force for four years of my apprenticeship as an aircraft electrician, then moved to South Africa in 1981. I got into computers by accident, and have been there ever since, for better or for worse! I married a Salisbury girl in RSA, inheriting two kids in the process. They are 37 and 35 years old this year; the older one has given us two grandchildren – yes, the time has come for some of us to get old…ha ha!"

"We moved to Australia in 1998, where we’ve been ever since and would love to hear from you if you have the urge, or even remember me! Take care."

Any friends of Gavin, look him up in Australia and on Facebook.
Watts
Killed in Action
Watts, Trevor
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Deceased - Killed in Action - I have no details.

I don't know why but during basics our platoon commander picked on Trevor a lot which I thought was pretty unfair. I felt sorry for Trevor because of this.
Welensky Welensky, Zane
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Whitcroft
Whitcroft
Whitcroft Whitcroft, Justin
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Alive, in Goa, India - He is on Facebook

Justin was one of the closest friends I had in our platoon and we patrolled many times together. I often think of him and wonder if he is alive and where he is today. He came from Cashel. He was wiry and strong and a good athlete and runner.

He was seen at Sun City some years ago by Willem Swanepoel (2001-05-18)

In May 2003 Justin found this site by accident and e-mailed me. He has made a career in the casino business and is now married and living in Romania. A couple of years after this he moved to Mexico where he and his family were for a few years. They returned to England and, as of now, (2013) he is working in India.

The new photo at left is Justin being crazy in Mexico, the old guy bungee-jumping!
Winter Winter
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown
Yin Yin
Nickname: ?
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown

I think someone emailed me about him but, unfortunately, I can't find the email. If it was you, please be so kind as to send it again.

The following guys were not in my platoon during training but joined us when we went operational:

Back Then Today Comments
No official photo as he was not in our platoon photo. Fraser, Lance
Nickname:
Basic Training: ?
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Unknown

I never patrolled with Lance but I remember that he seemed to be a decent guy and that he had a mistouche.
No official photo as he was not in our platoon photo.
Jackson
Jackson, Mark ?
Nickname: Mo ?
Basic Training: ?
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Unknown

He joined us once we completed out training as our platoon commander. I did this caricature of him. He only seemed to go on patrols when he thought there may be some action. If I remember correctly he had a degree in PE but I, and I think a number of the guys, did not take to him much. I remember him quite frequently lying in his sleeping bag long after sunrise, yelling at one of us to make him breakfast and/or to make him coffee or tea. We didn't realise that being an officer's lackies was part of our operational military duties. I'm afraid that stripes or pips on someone's shoulder, or a title, mean nothing to me in terms of personal respect. I will be obedient to someone in a position superior to me and acknowledge their office, within limits, but if you want my genuine respect, you had better earn it or you will never receive it. He never earned my respect and nor did our company CO, Major Winall.
No official photo as he was not in our platoon photo.
Price
Price, Tony
Nickname:
Basic Training: ?
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Unknown

Tony joined us at some stage during our operational tours of duty. He, Tom Whitney, Normal Hill and I patrolled together a number of times. I took this shot of him eating cornflakes for breakfast here once when we were on patrol and in a PV.
No official photo as he was not in our platoon photo.
Scott D
Scott, Dave (?)
Nickname:
Basic Training: ?
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: ?
Status/Location: Unknown

Dave was with us when we went operatonal in the Northeast but I can't remember if he was infantry or what.
No official photo as he was not in our platoon photo.
Whitney
Whitney
Whitney
Whitney, Tom
Nickname:
Basic Training: ?
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Alive, living in Portugal - on Facebook

Tom joined us as a corporal, was my first stick commander and I have many very good memories of him. I went on my first operational patrol with Tom and many patrols thereafter. We were charged by a rhino, walked into elephant, buffalo, and lion, and so on. I enjoyed patrolling with Tom as he took the job seriously and did not fool around. He did a good job. He also spoke excellent Shona. We were patrolling south of Lake Kariba once when we came across a blind black man with a young boy. Tom spoke to him in Shona and the man spoke to us for some time. After a while the boy told the man we were "white boys" and the man was stunned because Tom spoke Shona so well he thought we were black.

I don't know why, but I think our platoon commander - Jackson - did not like Tom, at least at first anyway. With almost every deployment to a new base camp, just after arriving and not even having had time to unpack our stuff, Jackson would order our stick out in the first group to go on patrol.

Tom did an excellent job and I was always happy to patrol with him. After all these years he found this site and made contact and we are freinds on Facebook too. At left here he is doing his Sean Connery impersonation. :-)

Following, are our platoon commanders we had during our training.

Back Then Today Comments
Van Den Berg Van den Berg, Nick (Color Sgt)
Nickname:
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Unknown

I think I was very fortunate to end up in this man's platoon. He was firm but fair and I think most of us respected and liked him. I still remember the first words he said to me. I had just been through the physical in the squash courts just after reporting for duty and, as we finished, we were just numbered off into groups which became out platoons. I was one of the last added to our platoon and, while we were sitting there, nervous and not knowing what to expect, he stode up to us. He made some comment about us sorry bunch being his platoon then, looked at me and said in a loud voice "Does your mother know you are here?" I replied in a respectful tone but, in a slightly sarcastic manner and said "Yes Sir, I think she does" after which he proceeded to yell at me and tell me not to call him "Sir" but "Colour." I remember thinking to myself, "Oh my, what is this mad place I am in?" Nevertheless, he turned out to be a good platoon commander and we strove to do our best for him. Towards the end of my training he was transferred and we were assigned to a new, British guy we could barely understand because of his strong accent and strange expressions.
Hunt Hunt, Dave (?) (Sgt)
Nickname:
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Unknown

I remember him but not well. I think he occasionally commanded out platoon but most of the time it was Van Den Berg and Newbould.
Newbould Newbould, Rob (?) (Cpl)
Nickname:
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Unknown

He too was a decent guy who was fair with us.
No picture available since he arrived long after our platoon photo was taken. Mullins (Sgt)
Nickname:
Basic Training: DRR - 9 Platoon
Operational: ?
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Unknown

He was assigned to us after Van Den Berg was transferred. He was a British soldier who had fought in Borneo and had such a strong accent that, at first, we could barely understand him. Our first drill session with him was an absolute disaster. Once we got used to him it got a lot better. I remember him teaching us how to make booby-traps like he used in Borneo and explaining to us that the purpose of a booby-trap is not to kill the enemy but to maim him and make him a burden on his companions. So, he taught us how to make a number of traps for maiming people.

 I think the following guys were not in my platoon during training or while I was operational but were probably assigned to our platoon after January 1977. When all of us going to university were released at the end of January 1977, 2 Indep was re-deployed back to the Kariba area and it seems that people from various platoons were combined as the company decreased in size. (When we started national service, we were supposed to be released on December 31, 1976 but, with the terrorist situation worsening, national service was increased by 6 months. All of us who had specifically applied for the January intake in order to go to university were told we could apply for university and, if accepted, we would be given an early release at the end of January. I was accepted at Wtis to start on +/- 14 February so I went from a war zone to university in two weeks. It was quite an adjustment...

If anyone reading this knows of more guys to be added here, please email me with the info. Thanks.

Back Then Today Comments
No photo as he was not in our platoon photo.
Killed in Action
McKenzie Hill, Allan Michael
Nickname:Kopje
Basic Training: ?
Operational: 2 Indep - 3 Platoon (Post January '77)
Category: Infantry
Status/Location: Killed in Action by a boosted landmine in June 1977

Apparently Phil Tennant was driving the vehicle when this horrific incident occurred.

Please Note:

Everything expressed on this site is my opinion and, the photos, images and drawings, except where noted, are my work and may not be used anywhere, by anyone, without my written permission.